Seattle City Council | KNKX

Seattle City Council

Clarence Acox, Co-Artistic Director
Courtesy of Jim Levitt

A block in Seattle’s Rainier Valley neighborhood could soon be named in honor of a local legendary jazz educator and musician.

Seattle City Council incumbent Kshama Sawant speaks Tuesday at an election night party with her supporters.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Washington state Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a recall effort against Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant can go forward.

A “Now Hiring” sign hangs at a Safeway store on Thursday in Seattle. A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block a $4-an-hour pay increase for Seattle grocery workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed an industry lawsuit that sought to block a $4-an-hour pay boost for Seattle grocery workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Courtesy of Afua Kouyate

UPDATE, 2/24: Updates to reflect that the Seattle City Council passed a resolution endorsing the creative district proposal.  

The pandemic has left many arts organizations struggling as performances and in-person classes have been canceled.

In the Southeast Seattle neighborhood of Rainier Valley, arts and culture groups have banded together to envision a more vibrant future after this current health crisis. They want to win designation by the state as an official creative district. On Monday, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution endorsing the idea.

Seattle City Council President Lorena Gonzalez leads a virtual council meeting on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020.
Seattle Channel

Seattle leaders were busy last week. The City Council passed a budget rebalancing package that includes cuts to the Seattle Police Department. A day later, Police Chief Carmen Best confirmed she is retiring effective Sept. 2.

The budget cuts included a reduction in the chief's salary and that of her command staff and a plan to reduce the department by up to 100 officers through layoffs and attrition. 

In this photo taken March 23, 2017, outreach worker Brenda Frazier, left, walks with Seattle police officers Tori Newborn, right, and Wes Phillips past tents housing homeless people below a freeway next to downtown Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Budget changes in Seattle could upend how the city responds to encampments of people living outside in tents and makeshift houses.

This week, a majority of City Council members voted to remove funding from the city's three-year-old Navigation Team, which is made up of police officers and outreach workers who respond to encampments. Members of the team disband or "sweep" encampments while also trying to connect the people displaced with shelter and other services.

One of the courtrooms in the King County Children and Family Justice Center.
Paula Wissel / KNKX

Just like adults, teens who are arrested are read their Miranda rights. But advocates for reform say the teenage brain isn’t developed enough to really absorb the meaning of “the right to remain silent” and “anything you say can and will be held against you in a court of law.”

The Seattle City Council and King County Council are considering ordinances that would provide more protections for juveniles when it comes to the Miranda warning. 

Protesters have been gathering in Seattle daily since last weekend, to protest police brutality. During those demonstrations, police have been accused of using tear gas to clear crowds.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

The Seattle City Council grilled Police Chief Carmen Best on Wednesday afternoon over the conduct of officers during weeklong protests. Often late at night, police were dispersing crowds with tear gas and flash-bang grenades.


Critics said there appeared to be little effort to de-escalate the situation in ways that had been done in the past. Council member Lisa Herbold, who chairs the Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee, told Best she wanted answers.

A small homeless encampment sits under a bride in Seattle. Officials in the Puget Sound region are bracing for the novel coronavirus to hit homeless shelters and camps.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle officials continue to debate how to address homeless encampments during the pandemic. Seattle City Council members met Wednesday to consider legislation that would limit the city’s ability to remove encampments during COVID-19. 

news that informs graphic
Adrian Florez / KNKX

The City of Seattle is considering a ban on natural gas in new buildings. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging builders to go electric for cooking and heating.

Erin Hennessey / KNKX

Standing in front of the chilled beverages at Metropolitan Market, it may seem like a simple task to say which drinks are subject to Seattle's soda tax. The local chain even makes it clear right on the price tag.

Seattle City Council

After a three-year battle, the Seattle City Council has approved a new law that relaxes the rules for building backyard cottages and basement units, while limiting the size of new homes in single-family zones to curb so-called "McMansions" in the city.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to extend temporay protections for the Showbox theater for another six months. Council members also unanimously approved plans to build affordable housing near Discovery Park in the city's Magnolia neighborhood.

Seattle City Hall
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

There are more than 50 candidates running for a seat on the Seattle City Council. The filing deadline for the primary is May 17.

Crosscut city reporter David Kroman has been covering the races and tells Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick that the high turnout is driven by two factors: opportunity and unhappiness with the council's current performance.

Emergency crews work at the scene of a construction crane collapse where four people were killed and four others injured Saturday, April 27, 2019, in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle.
Joe Nicholson / The Associated Press

Seattle leaders are starting to talk about what comes next after a fatal crane collapse over the weekend, but there seems to be a long road ahead.

Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The Seattle City Council has voted to upzone 27 neighborhoods, allowing more density and taller buildings in exchange for developers putting in low-income units or paying into an affordable housing fund.

In this May 9, 2018, file photo, Seattle City Council Members Mike O'Brien, Kshama Sawant and Teresa Mosqueda listen to public comment. On Monday, the three council members voted in favor of Sawant's human services director resolution.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

A divided Seattle City Council is trying to push forward in confirming the mayor's pick for human services director, but it's unclear what the next move is. The new director will have a big say in how the city tackles the ongoing homelessness crisis.

Jean Godden holds a copy of her book at the KNKX Seattle studios, on Jan. 5, 2019.
Ed Ronco / KNKX

Jean Godden has heard a lot of stories over the years.

Godden, now 87, was a columnist for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and The Seattle Times, before serving three terms on the Seattle City Council.

seattle city council members during a meeting
Ted S. Warren / AP

The Seattle City Council has publicly opposed a proposal by the Trump Administration that one council member says is already having a chilling effect on immigrant communities. 

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Earlier this year, elected leaders in Seattle did a rapid about-face on a tax that would have collected money from large employers like Amazon to fund programs to address homelessness.

At the time, poll numbers showed a majority of voters opposed the idea. While council members and Mayor Jenny Durkan were changing their positions, they were also exchanging text messages -- with each other, and with power brokers in the city. 

Seattle City Council

Seattle has passed a Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.  Under the city ordinance, house cleaners, nannies, gardeners and other domestic workers will be covered by the city’s $15-an-hour minimum wage and other labor protections.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

In a major reversal, the Seattle City Council is expected to vote Tuesday to repeal a controversial business “head tax” it approved less than a month ago.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The debate over the proposed "head tax" on large Seattle businesses is heating up.

Amazon spheres
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Amazon is pausing development on two buildings in downtown Seattle as the City Council considers a "head tax" on large businesses.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is poised to enact a so-called "head tax" on businesses. 

The latest proposal would only apply to businesses grossing $20 million or more. It would start as a per-employee tax before changing to a tax on total payroll in 2021. It's expected to raise $75 million per year for the city's efforts to combat homelessness.

Seattle leaders are hoping changes to some parking policies might help address big issues like affordable housing and climate change. 

To that end, the City Council voted Monday to adjust several off-street parking regulations.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is reconsidering a "head tax" on businesses to pay for housing and homeless services after council members failed to pass such a tax last year.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Nearly a decade after the SuperSonics left Seattle because of lack of funding for a new arena, the city has a deal it hopes will eventually bring the NBA back.

Kirsten Harris-Talley served on the Seattle City Council for just 51 days. She was appointed after Councilmember Tim Burgess became mayor following the resignation of Ed Murray earlier this fall.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

After Ed Murray's resignation as Mayor of Seattle, there was a series of transitions as council members took over the city's highest office, returned to the council, and an interim council member was appointed. In a couple weeks, Seattle City Hall is going to do it all over again.